Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Not A Drop To Drink

First off, let me start by saying I know author Mindy McGinnis on a cyber level. We've been critique partners, sounding boards and friends. However, don't let my friendship with Mindy dupe you into thinking my review will be biased. Mindy is brutally honest, and I know she would want me to be as well.

So here goes...

In a nutshell, Not a Drop to Drink is about a young lady who faces a brutal world of survival. Lynn has no time for the softer side of life as she and her mom fight for every minute of every day.

In this post apocalyptic world, water is scarce and the pond outside Lynn's home is literally the tipping point between life and death. When tragedy leaves Lynn alone on her roof to protect the life-giving water, she is faced with fears greater than survival of the fittest--the need to rely on someone else.

This story is about the evolution of humanity in one girl's heart. Born into a violent world, Lynn has known nothing beyond the ever-present need to collect, purify and protect the water in the pond. She's killed for the pond. The question: is her soul too thirsty to quench?

What I loved about this book?
  • A post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel that tackles the reality we may someday face. Water is scarce in Not a Drop to Drink. Humanity, more so.
  • Mindy's unflinching view of what desperation looks like. She didn't sugar coat the troubles we would face in a world without a ready supply of water. Instead, she tapped into the pioneer-esque work ethic and problem solving skills that are sometimes lacking in today's world. Survival is not a game we can turn off when we get bored or tired or frustrated. It's a gritty reality that never ends.
  • The water witching. Seriously, this brought back childhood memories of a friend of the family who could witch water. This crazy, unexplained ability to find water below the surface of the earth is nothing short of amazing.
  • The characters. I think I may be in the minority, but Stebbs is by far my favorite character. I loved his time-worn view of the world--and of himself. He was the perfect mentor for Lynn, while Lucy brought the youthful innocence that had so desperately been missing from Lynn's life. Eli's sense of humor was much needed to alleviate the heaviness of the topic.
  • Lastly, I appreciated Mindy's brevity. She didn't belabor unnecessary details. I read this book in a few hours and didn't skim a single paragraph. This is unusual for me, as I tend to skip the "boring parts".
What I didn't love?
  • The epilogue. It felt so abrupt that I had to check the mirror to see if I'd been slapped in the face. I wasn't ready for the time jump. I'm not sure what I expected, but these last pages felt too pat, too clean, too easy for all the struggle Lynn had gone through before. Maybe I wanted another book between the end and the hear that Mindy?...just to satisfy my curiosity about what happened in between.

The big surprise?
  • After reading other reviews, I find myself in the minority. I wasn't at all surprised by the ending. I expected it and wasn't remotely disappointed in the way it turned out. It was validating to see Lynn remain in character during the toughest moment of her life.
  • That said, I was momentarily surprised by one death...but only momentarily. Then I remembered who wrote the novel and knew that this, too, was within the author's character. Survival isn't easy. It's painful and it doesn't play favorites. Mindy never once forgot that.
The romance?
  • It's there, barely. Which I'm a fan of since that's one of the "boring parts" I usually skip. Strangely enough, I would have liked just a little more intimacy. Not necessarily physical intimacy between Lynn and Eli, but more of an emotional intimacy within herself. Yeah, I know, clear as mud.
There you have it. A brutally honest four point five rain drops for Not a Drop to Drink.

Alexandra Tys

No comments: